Harm Reduction Victoria

Drugs & Partying

Drugs and Partying
For many party goers drugs and partying go hand in hand, from legal drugs like alcohol and cigarettes to illicit substances such as ecstasy, speed, GHB and hallucinogens (LSD).
Each genre of dance music comes with its own unique crowd and choice of substances.
Back in the day when Ravesafe first started, there was only one type of dance music scene, the underground rave scene and the preferred drugs were ecstasy (MDMA) and hallucinogens. The parties were small (by today’s standards) attracting only a few hundred people. Details of the location were often released on the day of the event.
These intimate events were a far cry from today’s diverse dance music scene. Today each scene can be classified by the music, the drugs and the type of crowd it attracts.

Some of the Dancewize crew

Commercial festival scene
These events are mainly held over the summer festival period (i.e. December to March) at large city venues. With dance music like trance, electro and dubstep becoming more and more commercial, these events attract anywhere from 10,000 – 50,000 people. The crowd is often very young with the majority in their late teens to early twenties. The age of punters often contributes to the sort of problems people experience at events as they may be new to the festival scene and know little about the drugs they choose to consume. The commercial music scene floats on alcohol: alcohol is aggressively promoted and sold at events, which are sponsored by the alcohol industry. Although alcohol is the most widely used substance, the use of other drugs including ecstasy, speed, ice, GHB, cannabis and cocaine is also common. However, the scene can be very divided when it comes to illicit drug use.


Doof scene
The doof scene is different to the commercial festival scene in a number of ways. Most events are held in the bush over multiple days and attract anywhere from 200 to 15,000 people. These events combine music, lifestyle and arts to create a holistic, psychedelic experience for punters, with the music and décor designed to enhance this. The doof scene attracts a diverse crowd with punters aged from 1 – 60+ years although the majority are in their mid to late twenties. This scene is renowned for its well informed punters who are frequently extremely knowledgeable about the various substances commonly associated with the doof scene and how they work. With events running for multiple days punters want to know how they can best look after themselves so they can enjoy the whole festival. However, due to the psychedelic nature of the substances, poly drug use and using over consecutive days, punters often run into trouble and need assistance from DanceWize. The use of hallucinogenic substances as well as cannabis, MDMA, amphetamines and alcohol is common at these events.

DanceWizeRave scene/ Hard dance scene
What would be considered today’s rave scene has become a niche market. Events that used to attract thousands now attract less than 1,000 people. Most of these events are now held in clubs, with a few larger events located in larger entertainment venues. Punters cover a diverse age range but the majority are in their late teens and early twenties. The use of ecstasy, speed and alcohol as well as GHB and ice is common.


Contact Details 


Dan – Program Coordinator

Email: dan@dancewize.org.au

Steph – Program Coordinator

Email: steph@dancewize.org.au